In Peter Jackson’s latest epic, the moments of inspiration and interest are marooned amid acres of meandering chit-chat. What a schlep
The Beatles’ 1970 album Let It Be and its depressing accompanying documentary were always bugbears among the former Fabs. John Lennon dismissed the music as “badly recorded shit”; Paul McCartney was so horrified by the album that he masterminded a new version in 2003, shorn of the additions by Phil Spector, whom Lennon employed as a producer without telling McCartney. None of the Beatles turned up to the documentary’s premiere; Ringo Starr objected that it was “very narrow” and had “no joy”.
Peter Jackson’s Get Back is a documentary series designed to address Starr’s concerns. It shows a broader, ostensibly happier, picture of the band’s doomed 1969 project to write a new album, rehearse the songs and perform them live in the space of two weeks. Whether the Get Back sessions hastened the Beatles’ demise remains moot, but a preponderance of footage featuring songs sung in funny voices, mugging to camera and in-jokes can’t stop the initial sessions at Twickenham Studios from looking like misery.